That's no moon... oh, wait, yes it is.

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
July 5 2008 10:37 AM

That's no moon... oh, wait, yes it is.

A UK woman called the police recently. He wanted to report a large object hovering over the trees for quite some time. The cops sent someone to check it out... and it was the Moon.

Stories like that make me (and everyone) laugh. How can you mistake the Moon for anything else? Yet people do it quite often. They actually don't recognize the Moon, the second brightest object in the sky. Incredible.

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Yet very credible. So remember that when someone claims to have seen a UFO and also says it couldn't possibly have been anything other than a flying saucer. Ask them if they're familiar with satellites, iridium flares, meteors, noctilucent clouds, halos, glories, parhelic arcs, crepuscular rays, autokinetic illusions, or even a flock of ducks. I spend a lot of time looking at the sky, and I know most people don't. There's a lot of stuff up there that can fool even experienced people, let alone those who don't spend much time simply looking up.

The Moon. Heh.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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